On February 17, 2021, Musings From The Universe published a post entitled “Macho and Mindful” which discussed ways for men to become more mindful while maintaining a sense of manliness. Although the post has been well received, it occurred to us that we never addressed a very important aspect of the mindfulness process in that post; the need for men to practice a self-care routine! As a married father of two, I find it imperative that we correct that oversight here. So ladies, read on and then get this article in front of the man in your life! And gentlemen, lets wade into this.
Alright guys. We have been screwing up. We have been taught some faulty logic and it is time we fix it. We have been told that, as husbands and fathers, our job is to put ourselves at the bottom of the list and to make sure our wife and kids are taken care of before us in all aspects. That our mental and emotional health don’t really matter. But it doesn’t work! Let me ask you a question – Do you have anyone in your life who doesn’t deserve to be happy and healthy? If you answered “Of course not”, as I am sure you did, then why are you not counting yourself among those people? You deserve to feel good, safe and happy just as much as those for whom you are responsible. And whether or not you realize it, you are actually limiting their happiness when you are not taking care of yourself.
The above chart is a breakdown of the causes of stress of teenagers. As you can see, family accounts for a whopping 32% of the total stress experienced by these children. As a father, we should be a place the children can go to lessen their stress load, not add to it! But, how can we help them if we are struggling with our own turmoil? It is like when you are on an airplane and the flight attendant gives that pre-flight instructional speech. They tell you that, if the oxygen masks drop down, you need to put yours on before helping others get theirs on. That is because you cannot be of any help if you are struggling to breath or stay conscious. To be of assistance to those around you, first get your own shit together! And yet, in times of high stress, our instincts kick in and tell us: Get more done; Figure it out on your own; Tackle the problem; You can take a break and recharge once everything is cleared up. When is the last time everything was “cleared up” and your world was firing on all cylinders? Yeah, I can’t remember that far back either. So those instincts are not worth a damn. As a husband or father, you never get to the end; you never reach the finish line and get your hand raised in victory. It is a lifelong process. So waiting until you have everything settled isn’t really an option.
While you strive to look after your family, you need to be looking after yourself through a routine of self-care. Start off by following these logical steps.
- Look around and assess how you are impacting your family, your work, and your health.
- Take care of yourself.
- Reassess and take action in life from the more grounded, calm and mindful state.
You will be shocked at the results of this simple process. You will be much sharper at work and much more relaxed and amiable at home. You know the old saying “Happy wife = happy life”? Well it should be amended to “Happy man = happy wife and kids = happy life”.
Stop Being Such An Asshat!
You know that guy that always seems down; is always right on the edge of anger; like if he genuinely smiled his face would crack? We all know that guy…or we ARE that guy. He is like that because he has been beaten down over time into believing that he is worthless and doesn’t deserve anything better. He is stressed out and mad about it. So he takes it out on those closest to him…his family and best friends. He is an official asshat.
What we need to come to terms with is that, as leaders of our family unit, our intentions do not mean crap. What matters is our actions. We may very well want only the best for our family. But if we are not acting in a way that will provide the best possible results, then what does our intention matter. Our anger and frustration may come from a place of love, but nobody cares why dad is constantly yelling, just that he is. So until we can get ourselves into a good place emotionally and mentally, we are actually causing more harm than good.
Lead From The Front
As husbands and fathers, we are constantly doing what we can to make for a happy and healthy home environment, as best we can. All the while, we are seen as the leaders of the family unit. Now, before I get a thousand messages from offended wives/mothers, yes I agree that leading a family is a partnership. I am not being sexist here, but a husband/father feels as if it is his job to be the leader when push comes to shove and he willingly takes on that additional stress. Well, just like in a military unit, the leadership of a family unit will get more respect and cooperation if they are willing to show that they believe in the orders they are giving; if they are willing to lead from the front; if they practice what they preach. So if we are frustrated and arguing with family members because they are constantly frustrated and argumentative, we are not leading from the front. We need to show those we love what kind of behavior and interaction we expect and want to be the norm in the family. And we can only do that by caring for ourselves to get into the proper state of mind.
At The End Of The Day
When all is said and done, husbands and/or fathers need to be more than in previous generations. We need to be more than just bread winners; we need to be more than just spider killers; we need to be more than just sperm donors; and we need to be more than just disciplinarians. We need to be loving, caring and mindfully present leaders of our family units. In order to be the men our families deserve, we need to care about our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. We need to implement self-care routines into our lives and show those around us that we are taking action to be there for them for the long haul.
For additional information on self-care routines for men, I suggest taking a look at these articles: dudefluencer; Men’sHealth; and of course the article “Macho and Mindful” from Musings From The Universe.